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Reid Warned of “Ticking Time Bomb” in Senate Health Care Reform

January 12, 2010

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - More than 50 leaders and organizations in his home state sent a letter late Monday to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), asking him to use his influence to make sure Congress produces a health care package that is affordable to people who are now uninsured. In their view, the Senate version of the bill contains a "ticking time bomb," with mandates that many Nevadans purchase health insurance they could not afford to access or to use.

Jon Sasser, chair of the Nevada Lawyers for Progressive Policy, says a family of four that earns $33,000 per year would pay an annual premium of $1,500 under the Senate plan, but only $1,000 under the House plan. The Senate version also would require higher out-of-pocket expenses, says Sasser.

"It would be tragic if the final bill makes uninsured people buy health insurance they can't afford, either to purchase or to use; and that's our fear in terms of the Senate version of the bill. "

The latest poll numbers from the Las Vegas Review Journal show 66 percent of Democrats approve of Reid's efforts to get health care reform passed. But statewide, it's a different story, with only 30 percent approving of Reid's efforts, while 60 percent disapprove.

Monday's letter thanks Reid for his leadership on health care reform, crediting him for improving the bill. However, Sasser says when it comes to out-of-pocket medical expenses, Nevadans will need a little more help.

"A single individual making about $22,000 a year would receive coverage with a deductible of about $1,500 under the Senate bill, and it'd only be $600 under the House bill. "

The inequities in the Senate bill are not well known, he adds, calling them a "ticking time bomb."

"This issue has not gotten the same press as other issues, such as the "public option." When it actually begins to hit the streets, then I think there will be a lot of anger. "

The Senate bill is HR 3590 and the House's is HR 3200.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV